2018 Day 21 – Narcissus, Reflected

Your perfect face,
Seeing only
Her tear-filled eyes,
Drowning in
Betraying memory.
Your rooted pain
Cuts like a sword.
The ghost at your lintel
Reflects desire.
The deepest pool
Lets secrets rise.
The deepest pool
Reflects desire.
The ghost at your lintel
Cuts like a sword
Your rooted pain,
Betraying memory,
Drowning in
Her tear-filled eyes,
Seeing only
Your perfect face.


Notes: The prompt was Narcissus. A mirrored poem seemed apt.


2018 Day 20 – Cain

She called me serpent’s child when she was angry
But I knew I was Adam’s, blood and bone.
It’s murder being first-born.
They called me killer, but I at least
Had the excuse of anger.
Not so my brother.
He slit his victims’ throats cold-bloodedly.
They said I stinted on my sacrifice,
Held back the first-fruits and best grains,
But you’d have thought it good enough
For a disembodied deity.
Who knew that He craved blood?
And blood I gave Him,
Hotly soaking into the red earth.
Now, far from home, I wander
Where Lilith’s daughters howl through deserts.
Their voices drown the crying of my brother’s blood.


Notes: The prompt was to write a poem which was about rebellion in some way. It occurred to me that I could continue the series of persona poems I had written about Lilith, Eve and Adam.

2018 Day 19 – Hot Erasure

It’s   right   through the   inside,
tapping away   somewhere
morning    comfort,
keep in summer .

It’s   right to be   streaming
through the cruel   inside,
tapping away
instead of    refreshing
the    morning makes me    comfort,
keep cool in summer .

It’s    April
and the sunlight   streaming    all day
was     cruel
I was stuck    instead
somewhere with a long    bound ,
the jumper     morning    comfort,
keep cool.

It’s hotter than     any     sunlight
the windows    cruel
I was stuck inside,
away somewhere
with a long    drink    too warm for comfort,
pass    by    summer  s.

It’s hotter than April has any right to be, and the sunlight which has been streaming through the windows all day was a cruel reminder that I was stuck inside, tapping away at a keyboard instead of relaxing somewhere with a long refreshing drink. Now that I’m bound for home, the jumper I put on this morning makes me too warm for comfort, while passers by keep cool in summer shirts and sandals.


Notes: The prompt was a self-erasure poem – “Our (optional) prompt for the day takes it cue from Brady’s suggestion that erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.” I prefer to use someone else’s text for erasure, but I gave it a try.

2018 Day 18 (bonus) – Witness

You are the witness.
Yours is the voice which shatters silence
Which pushes through the cruel wall.
Speak, sister.
Turn the weapon away from the trusting child.
Let her wake in safety,
Mothered, warm.
Let her taste sweetness,
Turn away
From the remembered face of death.


Notes: A second one from today’s prompt, using another Maya Angelou poem, Faces.

2018 Day 18 – Fall

Rushing headlong into darkness
I rise, I fall, I rise again
In a bewilderment of kisses.
I, now, and you,
Denied heaven
Burn like falling angels –
A fitting fate
For mortal passion on immortal wings.


Notes: a complicated sounding prompt today – “First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. ” I used Recovery by Maya Angelou.

The Antidote to Anecdotes

The antidote to anecdotes
(‘Do you remember…?’ Of course I do.
It’s nothing new. I’ve heard it all before.)
Is to ignore
The content of the story, and instead
To the rhythm of the telling and the beating of your heart
And the note of something missing,
Hear the note of something missing,
Catch the note of someone missing from the start.


Notes: The prompt suggested I dig up a family anecdote. Didn’t want to. So there’s this.

2018 Day 16 – Playing Soldier

Today the boy is playing soldier.
He wonders what it’s like to kill a man.
He’ll learn, before he gets much older.

They told the quiet child he should be bolder,
To learn to shoot a gun because he can.
Today the boy is playing soldier.

The girl smiles at him, asks him if he’ll hold her.
He’d rather hold a weapon in his hand.
He’ll learn, before he gets much older.

His father wonders if he’ll break the mould or
Follow the path his games began.
Today the boy is playing soldier.

His mother begged him to keep safe. He told her
He’d be just fine if he stuck to the plan.
He’ll learn, before he gets much older.

The summer’s gone, the days are growing colder,
The playground’s shifted to another land
And still the boy is playing soldier.
He’ll learn. He may not get much older.


Notes: The prompt was for a poem which features the ides of play. But sometimes play is serious stuff.

2018 Day 15 – Darth Vader Plays The Keyboard

vader.jpgDarth Vader plays the keyboard at the top of Market Street.
You can see him almost every Sunday of the year
Playing electronic music that is always quite upbeat,
And in no way a medley of terror, death and fear.

It’s a break from crushing rebels, and he seems to like the gig
Though you’d have to have more guts than me to actually ask.
The tourists take his picture. He doesn’t seem to give a fig
But you can’t read his expression – does he smile behind his mask?

I know he’s done some awful things, and yet he makes me grin
(Though if he blew up my planet, I guess I’d feel a chump).
While his behaviour’s gone downhill since he was Anakin
There’s this to say for Vader: he’s still not Donald Trump.


Notes: Gone slightly astray from the prompt (writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human but still evil), as I forgot about the unfortunate situation part. But based on a true story…

2018 Day 14 (bonus) – Dreamed

I dreamed you were a seagull soaring. I
Clutched a blue teacup, in a leaky boat below.
The teacup’s blue was patterned, for some reason,
With soaring seagulls on a summer sky,
Yet in my dream the sky was full of snow
Which fell as light as feathers from your wings
And filled up my blue cup. Boat leaking, freezing,
I wept. A seagull soars, but never sings.


Notes: I used three of the suggestions from today’s ‘dream dictionary’ prompt as the three repeated images in a san san, just for the hell of it.

2018 Day 14 – From The Dream Dictionary

If you dream of a hammer
You may be remembering
How you once dreamed
Of smashing the system,
But context matters.
When you dream of a hammer
Are you the nail?

Beware, if you dream of seagulls.
Someone is waiting
to steal your lunch.
Also, wear a broad hat –
Don’t ask why.

Dreams of ballet slippers
Are a painful reminder
That you must always
Be on your toes.

In dreams, sharks represent
The constant circling
Of unshakeable thoughts,
Overdue deadlines,
And the need to make
A dental appointment.
Conversely, a dream of dentists
Expresses your inner longing
To be more shark.

A wobbly table
Promises a future
Of ruined deserts
And spoiled desserts.

A rowboat with oars
Augurs escape
And improved bicep tone.
You do not want to dream
Of an oarless rowboat.
Trust me.

If you dream of a teacup
You may be thirsty
Or merely bored.
In any case, empty the cup
And interpret the pictures
Revealed in the tea leaves.
(Interpretations may be found
In our companion volume
“Beyond The Leaf –
A guide to Tasseography”)


Notes:  Today’s prompt is to write entries for an imaginary dream dictionary. Pick one (or more) of the following words, and write about what it means to dream of these things: Teacup, Hammer, Seagull, Ballet slipper, Shark, Wobbly table, Dentist, Rowboat